Shaughnessey honored for 50 years of coaching

October 20, 2009 8:18:18 PM PDT
One influential man has been coaching football for 50 years and is still going strong; 73-year-old Dan Shaughnessey will be honored this weekend for his five decades on the sidelines. ABC7's Mike Shumann spoke with the man who's been coaching since 1959.

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"It's working with the kids. They're the most important, I mean, that's job number one," says Shaughnessy.

Oakland native Dan "Shag" Shaughnessy has been coaching high school football for 50 years. He got his first contract at 23 and told his wife Diane he was cheating the school.

"I'm teaching five periods of English and head football coach. Boy what a great job. I was making $3,000," says Dan.

After playing football at Utah State, Dan found his calling in the Bay Area. He was head coach at Salesian High in Richmond for 17 years, then moved over to his alma mater St. Mary's in Berkeley for 20 more.

He won 245 games as a head coach, 16 league titles, with 14 playoff appearances. He's currently an assistant at El Cerrito High.

"We regularly are inspired by his liveliness, by his optimism, and his ability to see the world as it is," says El Cerrito head coach Kenny Kahn.

Like most coaches, he's been a surrogate dad to thousands of young men.

When asked how have kids changed over this 50 year span, he answered, "Personally, I don't think they've changed at all. They know when you're in their corner. They're not stupid."

Coaching was a family affair; all five of his kids worked the sidelines.

"One of us was always the ball girl, someone else was in charge of the jerseys, somebody else was in charge of the water bucket and one in charge of the tee. You had to pay attention to the game, know what was going on, or you'd hear about it," says Casey Shaughnessy-gray, Dan's daughter.

His wife Diane kept all the stats, notified the media, and fed the players at their house after games.

If you disagreed with her stats on your catches or tackles, Dan says, "'All you have to do is talk with my wife, and good luck.' And it never worked, she never changed anything."

This Saturday, Salesian High will dedicate their goalpost to Dan and his wife Diane, who passed away in 2006, but will be there in spirit.

"Oh yeah, we were inseparable. We were always together, always side by side. Yeah, it's going to be tough," says Dan.

All five of his children will be there.

"The kids played in the hallway, they kind of grew up around that school, that's why it's so important to them," says Dan.

When asked if Dan ever walk away from coaching, he replied, "I think they're going to have to pull me off the field kicking and screaming. That is what they're going to have to do."

Event:
Saturday, October 24, 2009 -- 1:30 p.m.
Dedication ceremony
Alumni and Shaughnessy's former players are encouraged to attend.

Salesian High
2851 Salesian Ave
Richmond, CA 94804-1025
www.salesian.com/images/homecoming_postcard.pdf

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